On Friday, a truly reprehensible tweet by Kansas State student Jaden McNeil, mocking the late George Floyd, set off a firestorm at the school. We’ve seen college athletes start to use their voices to affect change around the country, and that is happening in Manhattan right now.
Kansas State administrators, including athletic director Gene Taylor, have have denounced McNeil. Players across the athletic department are now putting pressure on the school itself. Moments ago, Joshua Youngblood, an All-American kick returner and wide receiver for the team, tweeted a statement after the team discussed the situation with various other campus groups.
“Due to the recent disparaging, insensitive, and unsettling comments made by a fellow student, we as a football team, after consultation with students from campus organizations and as well as students from the general student body, feel it is best for us to stand with the students,” the statement begins. “We are demanding that Kansas State University put a policy in place that allows a student to be dismissed for displaying openly racist, threatening or disrespectful actions toward a student or groups of students. We have resolved that we cannot play, practice, or meet until these demands are heard and actions taken.”
“We love Kansas State but we must stand together and protect all students moving forward,” the statement ends. It is one of the strongest stances we’ve seen from a full team in recent college football history. So far, we haven’t seen a direct response from the university, though the statement is less than an hour old as of this writing.
No comment … 23 out until further notice 🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/zX8Z0W7UK5
— Joshua Youngblood (@YB060) June 27, 2020
A number of other K-State players have reposted the same message, with others adding their own thoughts. This isn’t limited to Kansas State football either.
Antonio Gordon and DaJuan Gordon, two Kansas State men’s basketball players (no relation) announced that they will not play for Bruce Weber’s program until changes come.
If nothing is done, I will not be representing this Univisity either. Chase if nothing is done mean they support it! https://t.co/IKkNCYohkV
— DaJuan Gordon (@Thatboyquaye) June 26, 2020
Christianna Carr, a Freshman All-Big 12 selection last year for the K-State women’s basketball program, is on board as well.
Please respect my decision. pic.twitter.com/S74a0hwPYe
— christianna mae (@chrissycarr4) June 26, 2020
On Friday, both football Chris Klieman and men’s basketball coach Bruce Weber reacted to the situation, though neither has responded to the threat of their players sitting out yet. Klieman has retweeted a Friday message from senior defensive back Jonathan Taylor calling for the same new policy allowing for expulsion of racist students outlined in the statement above.
Our program and our coaches will continue to be part of the solution when it comes to racial injustice. I love our players and they know I have their backs.
— Chris Klieman (@CoachKli) June 26, 2020
I am united with all our #KState student-athletes for using their voices to stand up to racism and injustice. This disgusting comment is not representative of the K-State that I know and love. I strive to continue to work with our team on solutions and against all hate.
— Bruce Weber (@coachbruceweber) June 26, 2020
Kansas State has said it is weighing its options on how to proceed. We’ll have more on this extremely tense situation as it comes out.